Too dangerous to free range?

DraftXJumper

Songster
May 27, 2017
110
67
116
Wisconsin
Hello! I'm very new to chickens (we have four 2-week old chicks all doing wonderfully so far), and I'm trying to learn all I can. We live on the edge of a very small town in rural WI. There are farm fields behind our house, and woods & lakes beyond the fields. We'd love to let our girls free-range a bit when they're older, but I'm worried about hawks. We have several of them behind our house, and they frequently come to our backyard. I know we also have fox & raccoons, but they seem to only be out at night. I am torn between wanting the girls to have lots of room to roam and be happy, and wanting to keep them safe. We are building a run of appx 48 sq ft. Any advice for a new chicken mom?
 

TinyBirds

Songster
10 Years
Jul 9, 2009
779
82
181
Texas
Take food away once they go on roosts, then let free range supwrvised a.m. and then feed to get them back in the pen. Then supervise free range before dark and they go in on their own to roost.
 

thunderclast

In the Brooder
May 17, 2017
16
20
43
Portland, Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
If you free range at all, you will lose some chickens to predators. But they seem much happier and healthier when they are able to free range, so it's a trade off. I like TinyBirds' advice above.
 

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